We woke up to a blue sky and that lovely yellow ball called the sun :-) Richard and Jim took Niamh for a 3 mile walk and then we set off to Saltaire. We had 3 swing bridges to contend with, the last one being interesting as I had to unlock the barriers with a C&RT key and then Richard used a windlass to release the wedges and then open the gate.
We arrived between the impressive mills of Saltaire and moored up for our visit – you are not allowed to moor there overnight (goodness knows why!).
Around 1850, Sir Titus Salt decided to build a mill large enough to consolidate his textile manufacture and bought some land close to Shipley. Building started in 1951 and the mill was opened in 1853. He then set about founding the village of Saltaire and built neat stone houses for his workers (much better than the slums of Bradford), wash-houses with tap water, bath houses, a hospital and an institute for recreation and education, with a library, a reading room, a concert hall, billiard room, science laboratory and a gymnasium. The village had a school for the children of the workers, almshouses, allotments, a park and a boathouse. Sir Titus died in 1876 and his youngest son Titus Jnr. took over. Unfortunately he died at an early age, 44, only a year after his father. The other sons tried to carry on but the company went into receivership in 1892. In 1893 the company was taken over by four Bradford businessmen and again thrived, becoming Salts (Saltaire) Ltd. But by 1929 it was again struggling and a major change occurred. The village's housing stock, up to that point owned by the company, was sold in 1933 to a Bradford estate agent and the capital raised was used to shore up the business. Salt's Mill closed in February 1986, and Jonathan Silver bought it the following year and began renovating it. Today it houses a mixture of business, commerce, leisure and residential use. In December 2001, Saltaire was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
We had a visit from the daughter of friends, Chris and Andy, last night. Chris and I met at antenatal classes 29 years ago and Hazel and Victoria are the same age. I haven’t seen Hazel for years and couldn’t believe how grown up she is!!! As Victoria said when I mentioned this to her “well she is nearly 29 now”! It was lovely to catch up with her as she was often in our house as they only lived across the road from us. Hazel now lives in Saltaire with her new husband, Jonny, and works in Leeds.